Getting a Mentor to Guide Your Premed Path

Session 52

Session 52

Congrats to Jessica & “9th Grade High Schooler” for winning a copy of The Heartbeat of Success!” – if you didn’t win,  you can purchase with the link from below

In this episode, Ryan talks with Alexa Mieses, a 2 year medical student at  Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  Today, we talk about mentorship, its impact on Alexa’s life and her path into medicine, and why she now passes this on to others as she continues to be a positive influence on others through mentoring.

Alexa is also an author of the book The Heartbeat of Success: A Med Student’s Guide to Med School Admissions, which offers logical and accurate advice on applying to medical school.

Here are the highlights of the conversation with Alexa:

Alexa’s current path to medicine:

  • A 2nd year medical student at Mt. Sinai in New York City
  • Master of Public Health program (She will graduate with both MD and MPH in 2016)
  • Getting a scholarship at Sinai

What set Alexa up for success in getting a scholarship at Sinai:

  • Choosing to major in Biology and minor in Psychology
  • Exploring her love for writing on the side
  • Becoming a member of the Minority Association of Premedical Students (MAPS), the undergrad arm of the National Medical Association, an organization specifically for medical students of color with a two-fold mission:
    • Help medical students of color succeed at medical school
    • Raise awareness to health disparities as well as health equity and social justice issues

Growing up in Queens, New York got her exposed to health disparity issues

Being awarded the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship funded by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, a fellowship that provides opportunities to undergrads for professional development through full-time summer internships for 3 summers, professional development seminars, and cultural activities.

Her experiences as a Jeannette K. Watson fellow:

  • Teaching biology and ecology at Bronx Zoo for the first summer
  • Her interest in public health started revving up
  • Spending her second summer at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an HIV community-based organization, specifically at the public policy department
  • Writing her first magazine article about a phenomenon called corrective rape and its impact on the spread of HIV
  • Her article being published in Pulse Magazine’s Treatment Issues

The impetus for Alexa to pursue medicine:

  • Not the best student in high school and became very ill
  • Every year in her high school, someone had died of drug-related causes
  • Becoming involved with a drug awareness Club in high school that got her interested in psychiatry and neuroscience
  • Her high school experience giving her the fuel and energy to do well in college

Her college experience:

  • Failing in her pre-calculus class
  • Joining a peer tutoring program

The power of course correction:

  • When you face obstacles, before taking another step forward, stop
  • Try to figure out what went wrong and how to get back on course

The implications of being a tutor:

  • Allowing her to reinforce a lot of the fundamental scientific concepts that helped her with her high-level courses and the MCAT
  • Teaching as one of the best ways of learning

The impact of mentorship in Alexa’s life:

  • It is transformative.
  • Getting involved in Mentoring in Medicine, an non-profit organization dedicated to helping students interested in pursuing a career in health professions learn more about that career and become more competitive for the different programs
  • Meeting two doctors who have helped her in school as well as with her medical school application; her mentors being able to fill that void in her professional life

How to find a mentor:

  • Your peers can be your mentor. You don’t need a physician to provide you with guidance or someone who’s older than you/
  • A mentor is someone who can be supportive and can help you find solutions to your problems.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone. There are many different ways to reach out such as email, Skype, social media.
  • Be fearless. The worse that can happen is they will tell you no. But you’ll never know what they’re going to say if don’t ask.
  • If you get a no, find another one who can help you.
  • Periodically keep in contact with your advisors, professors, colleagues. You never know what opportunities can come from that.

About her book, The Heartbeat of Success:

  • A guide to medical school admissions
  • A 30-day challenge sponsored by Mentor in Medicine and Small Business Camp
  • Her goal of being able to reach a larger audience and offer them invaluable tools and tips to succeed in the medical school admissions process especially to those who don’t have much access to resources
  • Writing her book in 30 days – Wow!

Listening to different voices:

  • Take every bit of advice with a grain of salt.
  • Try to hear as many perspectives as possible and lay out every piece of advice like cards on the table.
  • It’s okay to deviate from the traditional premed path but just be prepared to explain why you made that decision.

Some pieces of advice for premed students:

Do what you love. People are conformed to an idea of what they think is right. If you’re doing what you’re most passionate about, you will naturally excel. You will naturally shine. If you’re not even sure yet as to what you’re passionate about, that’s okay. Spend time figuring out what you love.

Links and Other Resources:

Follow @Soon2bDrMieses

Check out The Differential Blog on Medscape where Alexa’s  writes for regularly

Alexa’s Book -> The Heartbeat of Success: A Med Student’s Guide to Med School Admissions

Alexa’s Website

Minority Association of Pre-medical Students

Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship

Mentoring in Medicine

Alexa’s first article on Corrective Rape: Gender Inequality and Corrective Rape of Women Who Have Sex with Women

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